Average Weather and Climate

The city of Cleveland is located at 41.48° N, 81.67° S on the south shore of Lake Erie, the fourth largest of the Great Lakes. The land is generally flat except for a steep ridge on the eastern side of the city. The Cuyahoga River flows through downtown and drains into Lake Erie ("Cleveland: Geography and Climate").

 Cleveland is located on the shore of Lake Erie with an elevation of roughly 500 feet above sea level. The bluffs to the east of downtown rise to around 1000 feet. This elevation difference results in significant differences in precipitation. The lake also has a big effect on Cleveland's weather and climate.
 Source: http://www.netstate.com/states/geography/mapcom/oh_mapscom.htm

Due to its interior continental location Cleveland experiences a wide range of seasonal and diurnal temperatures and four distinct seasons. Summers are generally warm and humid due to maritime tropical air masses from the south, and continental polar air masses from the north cause cold winters ("Temperate Climate").

Cleveland is located between the Continental Polar air mass and the Maritime tropical air mass. The air masses shift with the seasons so that the Continental Polar brings cold temperatures in the winter and the Maritime tropical brings warm and humid summers.

 The average high temperature is 59.2° F and the average low is 42.4° F. July is the hottest month with an average high of 82.4° F and an average low of 63.7° F. January is the coldest month with an average high of 32.5° F and an average low of 21.5° F. Cleveland receives abundant year-round precipitation with an average of 40.82 inches a year (Annual Climatological Survey).

Data Source: NOAA National Climatic Data Center
As is represented in the above climograph, average precipitation in Cleveland is relatively consistent year-round, with a slight increase over the summer. Note that the data represented is from the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, which is on the west side of the city and receives considerably less snowfall than some of the eastern suburbs.
Data Source: NOAA National Climatic Data Center

Lake Erie has a significant impact on the climate of Cleveland. Because water heats and cools more slowly than land, warm temperatures persist longer into fall and cold temperatures persist longer into spring than they otherwise would. The greatest effect the lake has on Cleveland's climate is the amount of snow the city receives. During the winter when the jet stream dips down over the Great Lakes, the water--which is much warmer than the surrounding land--heats and humidifies the cold polar air. The moist air rises as cloud and cools until it reaches its dew point, when it falls as snow. East Cleveland is as much as 500 feet higher in elevation than the low-lying plains of the west. When the air is driven up this escarpment it snows much more heavily. For this reason, the east side of Cleveland receives significantly more snowfall than the west ("Lake Effects").

Source: http://mrcc.isws.illinois.edu/cliwatch/eNews/observer_201210_full.html

Downtown Cleveland receives an average of 50-60 inches of snow each winter, but parts of the eastern suburbs receive over 100 inches on average. This is due to their higher elevation; when the moisture-laden clouds rise over the eastern ridge, they get cooler and eventually the water vapor condenses, resulting in snow. Lots of snow.
Source: http://mrcc.isws.illinois.edu/cliwatch/eNews/observer_201210_full.html

The Bowen Ratio describes the amount of sensible heat to latent heat of a body. Because Cleveland has relatively high levels of precipitation and is located next to a large body of water, it likely has a relatively low Bowen Ratio, perhaps 0.5. However, the urban heat island effect may increase Cleveland's Bowen Ratio slightly by increasing the sensible heat. A large proportion of the Cleveland surface area is impervious, as high as 32 percent in some areas (Lower Euclid Creek). Impervious surfaces such as asphalt and concrete have low albedos; combined with other urban attributes such as skyscrapers and point and mobile sources of heat this leads to higher temperatures in the city. Cleveland is on average 2.5° F hotter, and sometimes up to 21° F hotter, than surrounding rural areas ("Hot and Getting Hotter").

Works Cited

"Cleveland: Geography and Climate." City-Data.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Mar. 2015.

Lower Euclid Creek Greenway Plan. Cuyahoga County Soil and Water Conservation District, 2007.
          Web. 08 Mar 2015.

"Hot and Getting Hotter: Heat Islands Cooking U.S. Cities." Climate Central. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Mar.

"Lake Effects". Green City Blue Lake. The Cleveland Museum of Natural History, n.d. Web. 08 Mar

Annual Climatological Summary 1989-2014: Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, OH US.
          NOAA National Climatic Data Center, n.d. Web 11 Mar 2015.
"Temperate Climate Buffered by the Lake." Green City Blue Lake. The Cleveland Museum of Natural
          History, n.d. Web. 08 Mar. 2015.

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